Guest article provided by: limitlessfitness4all.com
Spring is my favorite time of year. The days are getting longer. The weather is getting warmer. And best of all, everything is coming back to life after the long winter of dormancy. As I see the grass start to green up, I become eager to get outside and start planting my garden.
As a child, my parents always raised a large garden. I remember enjoying playing in the dirt while we planted the seeds. Harvest was also fun, even though it did take some work. My parents canned, froze, and even dried what we grew. There was nothing better than fresh produce from the garden. It had the best flavor. My parents grew a large garden because it was more economical than buying everything at the grocery store. It was also more nutritious due to its freshness. I didn’t realize it as a child, but all of our homegrown goodness was also organic.
As a young adult I always wanted to have a garden but I didn’t take the time to grow one. In the early years, I lived in an apartment. After several years, I moved to a rental house with my young family. We had a small yard but it was not mine to change.
Eventually, we bought our own home. I was eager to till a garden spot in our yard. We grew some of our favorites – tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, pumpkins, and sweet corn. It was some of the best tasting food I have ever eaten. We had plenty to share with friends and family. We even had enough to can and freeze part of it to enjoy during the winter months.
We moved again a few years later. This home did not have space for a garden in its small and heavily shaded yard. I missed working in the soil and eating the fruits of my labor so I decided to grow a few fresh herbs in flower pots that could be placed on the deck. Those herbs added a nice punch of flavor to the foods we seasoned with them.
Two years ago in the spring I decided it was the perfect time to try my hand at growing a large garden again. The pandemic was creating shortages. It was also causing me a lot of stress. (I work in a hospital). With the help of my dad, we tilled up the old garden spot that we used when I was a kid. My sister and niece helped me and my dad figure out what to plant and how to arrange the garden for the best results. It was literally a breath of fresh air. We enjoyed each other’s company while outside since, at the time, we were not supposed to gather in groups indoors.
Every few days I would go tend to the garden to ensure it was weeded and watered. My dad also enjoyed having something to do. He would check on the garden everyday. We enjoyed getting to spend time together outside in the fresh air and sunshine. It was relaxing for both of us. We enjoyed lots of fresh produce from the garden. We also had plenty to freeze and can for the long winter months. We enjoyed it so much that my dad and I couldn’t wait to grow a vegetable garden again last year.
I have to admit that I can’t wait to get back to the garden this year. There is something about turning over the soil, planting seeds, and watching the plants grow that is very relaxing and rewarding. Being able to taste and enjoy the fruits of your labor is an added bonus.
I used to think that I needed a big yard in order to grow my own food. I now know that even growing a few fresh herbs or vegetables in containers can be just as enjoyable. Fresh herbs can add loads of flavor and nutrition to your food. Herbs are easily grown on flower pots in a sunny window or on a balcony.
One of my favorite freshly grown foods is tomatoes. There is nothing more flavorful than ripe tomatoes from your own garden. Small varieties of tomatoes such as cherry or grape tomatoes can easily be grown in a large flower pot or even a 5 gallon bucket.
Salad greens are another easily grown option. Not only can they be planted in pots, but they can be incorporated into flower beds along with fresh herbs. They can be pretty to look at in addition to being a source of food.
If you have a nice sunny window, you can try starting your plants indoors about 6 weeks prior to the last frost. Starting plants from seed is the most economical. It can be more tedious though. Another great option is buying small plants from your local nursery to plant outdoors once the risk of frost is past. I have found that plastic milk or vinegar jugs make great little green houses for newly transplanted vegetables. The little green houses protect them from the cold and wind while helping them to quickly grow bigger and sturdier. Once the temperature stays warm enough at night you can remove their protective little green houses.
If you are new to gardening I highly recommend that you start out with just a few of your favorites. Choose plants that you will enjoy eating. It can become overwhelming if you try to grow a large garden when you have not done it before.
A garden should be a source of pleasure and relaxation not additional stress. The added benefit of spending time outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine is good for the heart and soul.
I have over 25 years experience working as an Occupational Therapist. My job is to help people who have been injured or have some kind of illness regain their strength and function so that they return to living life again. One of the most rewarding experiences is seeing someone regain their independence and go home.